Narrowing the gaps between conservation assessment, planning, and implementation via spatial decision support systems that are "living" and integrated

John Gallo, Amanda Lombard, Randal Greene, Frank W. Davis
Abstract. Spatial conservation prioritization does not necessarily lead to effective conservation plans, and good plans do not necessarily lead to action. These "science-action" gaps are pernicious and need to be narrowed. We suggest a spatial decision support system (SDSS) framework to not only address proximal challenges of the gap (detailed herein), but also the broader challenge that society is becoming more physically (and arguably emotionally) disconnected from nature. Utilizing case
more » ... experience from regions within California, South Africa, and British Columbia, we outline the framework and provide an example SDSS that emphasizes three design strategies towards these ends. First, marginal value functions allow for the continuous accounting of element (e.g. habitat) representation in prioritization algorithms, allowing for an SDSS that is more automated and saves valuable time for stakeholders and scientists to spend on other issues. Secondly, we call for connectivity modeling to be integrated in the SDSS, and provide an initial step with an algorithm that not only automatically calculates all the least cost corridors of a region, but also aims to prioritize among them and also remove the ones that do not make ecological sense. Thirdly, we highlight innovations in multi-criteria decision analysis that allow for both near-optimal plan development, like representative solution sets, but also land-use planning requirements, like site specific valuation, in what appears to be a more transparent, understandable, and usable manner, albeit less optimal. The strategic attention to communicating uncertainty is also discussed and sketched. Results from South Africa are displayed. This research provides an "open science" vision for collaborative conservation planning and action, and also an open access SDSS with input data and user guide that can be built upon or drawn from in furthering this vision.Note: Collaborators are encouraged to take this papers past the finish line and be a co-author or maybe e [...]
doi:10.6084/m9.figshare.13225280.v1 fatcat:t76rhw6qq5hbbbiqtubacn7bvu